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Montenegro’s Gambling Payment Ban Sparks Controversy



Montenegro’s Controversial Ban on Electronic Gambling Payments Sparks Industry Backlash

Are you aware of Montenegro’s controversial new gambling payment regulations? Discover the implications for the industry.

The Montenegrin government’s decision to ban electronic payments for gambling has ignited significant debate. Learn why operators are concerned.

Understand the potential impact on the gambling sector and what measures are being proposed to counter the ban.

Stay informed about this critical issue affecting the gambling industry in Montenegro and across Europe.


Montenegro’s Controversial Ban on Electronic Gambling Payments Sparks Industry Backlash

Montenegro’s government has advanced a controversial measure to ban electronic payments for gambling, a move that has triggered strong opposition from the industry. The approved amendments to Article 68f of the Gambling Act prohibit the use of e-banking, instant payment systems, and mobile payment services like PayPal and Apple Pay for gambling transactions. Instead, customers must transfer funds to online gambling accounts through betting shops or use card payments at betting shop terminals.

Government’s Rationale and Industry Concerns

The Montenegrin government claims the new regulations aim to enhance anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. This is part of Montenegro’s broader strategy to align with European Union (EU) standards as it seeks EU membership. The Council of Europe’s financial intelligence monitor, Moneyval, has raised concerns about Montenegro’s AML practices, prompting these stringent measures.

However, gambling operators argue that the payment restrictions contradict AML recommendations and breach EU competition rules. By limiting payment options, the government might inadvertently push customers toward unregulated markets where AML compliance is even weaker.

Opposition from the Gambling Industry

Jovana Klisić of the trade body MontenegroBet expressed significant concerns about the ban’s impact on operational efficiency and employment within the industry. According to Klisić, the restriction on electronic payments would create logistical challenges and increase operational costs for gambling businesses, potentially leading to job losses.


The industry’s discontent was further demonstrated in March when a petition against the proposed measures garnered 25,000 signatures in just five days. This swift response underscores the widespread opposition to the ban among both operators and consumers.

Conflict with EU Directives

MontenegroBet has been actively engaging with international institutions to highlight the negative impacts of the new regulations and their inconsistency with EU directives. Both Moneyval and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) have emphasized the need to reduce cash transactions to mitigate money laundering risks. By banning electronic payments, Montenegro’s new rules appear to contradict these recommendations, potentially exposing the country to increased scrutiny from international regulatory bodies.

Broader Implications for the Gambling Sector

The ban on electronic payments could have far-reaching consequences for Montenegro’s gambling industry. Operators warn that the restrictions could stifle innovation and deter investment in the sector. The inability to use popular payment methods like PayPal and Apple Pay might also drive consumers toward illegal gambling platforms, undermining the very AML objectives the government seeks to achieve.

Potential Economic Impact

The gambling industry plays a crucial role in Montenegro’s economy, providing significant employment and contributing to tax revenues. By imposing restrictive payment regulations, the government risks destabilizing this vital sector. Operators fear that the added inconvenience for customers will result in decreased participation in regulated gambling, leading to revenue losses and potential business closures.


Response from International Institutions

International institutions like Moneyval and FATF have yet to comment publicly on Montenegro’s new regulations. However, given their previous recommendations to reduce cash transactions, it is likely that these bodies will scrutinize the ban’s alignment with broader AML objectives. The gambling industry hopes that international pressure will prompt the Montenegrin government to reconsider or modify the regulations.

Looking Ahead

As Montenegro navigates its path toward EU membership, balancing regulatory compliance with industry viability remains a significant challenge. The controversy over the gambling payment ban highlights the complexities involved in aligning national policies with international standards. The gambling industry, supported by international institutions, continues to advocate for regulations that enhance AML compliance without undermining market competitiveness or consumer convenience.


Montenegro’s decision to ban electronic payments for gambling has sparked significant controversy, with industry stakeholders warning of operational inefficiencies, job losses, and increased risks of money laundering. The move has also raised questions about compliance with EU competition rules and broader AML objectives. As the situation unfolds, the gambling sector remains committed to working with international bodies to advocate for balanced and effective regulatory solutions.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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